20 answers

1 Year Old Giving up the Bottle

My son recently turned one and from what I have been told it is time to give up the bottle and formula. I am nervous about the transition because he loves his bottle. He only gets one at nap time and bedtime so about 2 a day depending on how many naps he takes (if I am lucky he takes two). How did you Mom's get your children to go to sleep without the bottle? Right now it is so------ easy. Do I switch to milk and then put it in a sippy cup and then remove the cup? Do I have to slowly add milk to the formula until he accepts the taste of milk? I would really appreciate your thoughts on this. I have been putting it off because I think it will be a battle. I am a stay at home Mom that enjoys the peaceful nap times and don't want to end up with us both in tears. Thanks for any help you might be able to give!

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Thank you all for your responses, they were all very helpful. I used a little advice from everyone. Over the coarse of a few days I added milk to his formula until it was all milk. He had no problem with it at all. I went out and got the nubby cups and that did not go over quite as well. But maybe that's the point? He will only drink a couple of ounces of it, (with a bottle he drank 6). He will fuss for a bit and finally settle in to his nap. I have to admit at night I have still let him have his bottle. I am trying to be good about only letting him have the cup during the day, although sometimes it results in no nap. I am keeping the nubby cups only for sleeping times and using regular sippy cups during the day. So hopefully he will see the nubby cup as "special". Once I get him off the bottle completely, which I do not want to rush, he will get water in his nubby for bed time.
Again, I so appreciated the answers, I find myself returning to your comments when I get frustrated and read them again for more ideas to make this easy for him.

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I see you already have a lot of answers , I am sure there are some excellent suggestions in amongst them.
I have not read them mainly because I am an opinionated old lady. Mother of seven, grandmother of 14 and great grammie of one.
I could spit nails every time I see someone say take the bottle away before two years.
TWO is the weaning year....has been for fifteen thousand years.
Out of the seven of my children, I had one who came home from kindergarten for his bottle of orange juice..and there was another little boy in his class who still had his bottle of milk after school. This is one extreme. Mine was done with it by Christmas on his own violition. His classmate gave it up the next summer at six. Never saw a ten year old suck a bottle either. I had a little girl who stopped breast and bottle before she was two. Again , on her own.
The rest stopped nursing when they were ready to give up the comfort of sucking at various ages, most between two and three years of age.
An infant derives much comfort and nurture from nursing, wether it is a bottle or breast. I breast fed all of mine , at age of one to fifteen months they accepted a bottle. I held them at first then that little streak of independence appeared and off they ran with their bottles.
Dont recall any problems with switching to bottles (or not), or for them to stop nursing altogether when they were ready.
Personally I think it creates anxiety and despair to take away the nursing thing too early. Remember, it is NOT just the breast milk, or whatever you choose to put into a bottle.
It is the sucking, the nursing, the closeness to Mother that is important here. A sense of security to them.
This can be a big scarey world to a very small child. Or a small one with Mum and Dad which is safe and fulfilling.
I believe many parents today are pushing babies into childhood, and children into pubescence , and teens into adulthood way before they are psychologically ready for these transitions.
And I think it makes for an unsettled baby to take away the props that give them a sense of security which is the basis for them challenging new experiences.
It is a good thing to finish one thing in its proper order before moving on to the next stage.
Let the babies be babies until they are prepared to be children and that happens around two years old. Some bit earlier, some a bit later. But tincture of time here.
What does it harm if your baby wants her naptime/ bedtime bottle? It is not that much work to pour milk or whatever into a bottle is it? Or not that much work to wash out a bottle.
WAY too many books that are most misguiding today I think.
Dr. Spock ruined an entire generation and did a pretty good job on the following one as well.
You will do as your heart leads you and as you think best...this is as it should be.
But you have asked for opinions and advice and this is mine.
Give the baby her bottle until she does not need the comfort she derives from it any longer.

God bless
Grandmother Lowell
PS Did mean to mention that if one of my children took a bottle to bed, some did, some did not...not one of them suffered any teeth problems because of it. NOT ONE. They are now, of course adults, all but one have their own teeth in excellent condition. The one had serious side effects from meds she was on that damaged her teeth beyond repair, in her forties.

Well I've been told I've been lucky but I did this with all 3 of my kids very successfully. When they turned one I switched over to milk in a sippy cup. This way they never associated milk with the bottle, formula comes in bottles for babies and big kids get milk from a cup. I will say it worked for all of my three. Good Luck.

Here is what i have been doing with my two: I see no reason to take away the bottle at bedtime and naptime at this point (my oldest is three, her sister is 20 mo and the new baby will be born in a month). I am as sick as a dog with being pregnant and I don't want to create any undue jellousy with the new baby and her bottle.

SOOOOOO what i have been doing for a good long while now is give them both a bottle that is almost all water with a tad of milk -- just enough to turn it white. Neither child notices that it's not all milk and this way the kids get the bottle that they crave but not the sugars that can hurt their teeth. Once the new baby is born and is several months old i will transition the mixture to a sippy cup and then slowly decrease the amount of liquid in the sippy cup.

I think you've gotten a lot of good advice about how to go about dropping the bottle. I just wanted to add that there's no reason that he _has_ to give it up at one. I would recommend dropping it for nap so he can get used to sleeping without it, but our pediatrician said that there was no problem with our daughter getting a before bed bottle all the way until she was 5! She didn't fall asleep with it and she didn't take it to bed with her, but we all liked that extra snuggle time. Around one we switched her over to soy milk (she was sick all the time and so dairy was tough) and let her have that in a bottle before bed. When she was about 2, she said "no buba" one night, and we seized the opportunity and she hasn't had one since. So I guess I'm just saying that if you still like him having the bottle and you enjoy that time together there's no reason that he can't have it. But, if you already feel like he's too dependent or you're ready to be done with bottles, do it now, because fighting with them does often become worse as they get older.

The Munchkin sippy cups are the BEST!! They are just like the Nuby ones that I used to love for my 3 year old, who I easily transitioned at 1, but since Nuby redid their spout they are very difficult to suck from. As a mom whose kids are prone to ear infections (and as a Mom who thinks the cup should be *easier* to drink from, not harder, than the bottle!), this new Munchkin cup is the best. It is BPA free, leak proof, has a soft rubbery spout that mimics the bottle, but when the child sucks it comes out a little faster than a bottle. I actually transitioned my now 11 month old at 9 months and after a few tries he *refused* the bottle and would only drink from the cup! Woo hoo!

I understand what you mean about nap and night time ~ I feed my son a sippy cup's worth of milk in the dark before bed, which makes him nice and drowsy, then after some cuddling/burping he easily goes down. Eventually we'll both be stopping this (much later) but for now it's not only great bonding time, it's a free pass to our own nap or me time! Try the cup ~ I attached the link to Target, where I bought mine, so you'd know what it looks like. You might want to buy one of those and then a Nuby with the similar spout ~ your son will decide which one he likes :)

Good luck and don't be scared ~ we've all been there! It will go much easier than you think because of all the transitional sippies out there. Thank goodness for moms who work in sippy cup creation centers! And don't worry about his dependence on the sippy; I have a 3.5 year old who thinks they are for babies and prides herself on drinking out of a cup :)



Hi L.,
We have two boys and when they each turned one, we changed them over from formula in a bottle to milk in a cup over a 3 day period. We felt that they would learn that milk comes in a cup and not in a bottle, so we never, not one time put the milk in a bottle. We also never used the bottle to help with naps or bedtime, except when they were infants. If you start to present milk in a sippy cup for meals and snack it might be easier. You want him to have a positive aassociation, and you can show him that you both drink milk, or whatever you drink from a cup at dinner, and not when you go to bed. I think in the long run the harder habit to break is the bottle before sleeping, not whethor it has formula or milk in it. You have this easy opportunity though to make a clean break of it and just start to offer milk in the cup. You might want to mix some milk and formula together for 2-3 days to get him used to the taste of it, but then THROW AWAY THE BOTTLES!!! Seriously - throw them away so you won't be tempted to go back to them. You will likely have a hairy couple of days, but you can get through it if you stick to your guns. If you waiver you will teach him that you don't mean what you say and then you'll have other issues down the road. Good luck - you can do this, it is really not a big deal, I promise. If you have a Babies-r-us near you check out their trainer cups and try to find one that has a spout on it that you thnk he might like. With our first son, he took to the new cup right away, but 3 years later when we weaned our 2nd son, we went through 5-6 different types before we found one that worked for him.
Again, good luck!

L.-Now keep in mind I have an almost two year old that still has one bottle of milk each morning so that she can have certain medicine mixed in....but she also drinks out of a cup and sippies...I have to say I savor her laying in my lap having this bottle still each morning.
They make sippy cups that have very soft nipple like tops for easy transitions so when you switch to milk you can use these sippys at first.
But worse case....what truly is the difference between one to two bottles a day for a one year old and the mom that still breast feeds? Or the mom that pumps and gives her child breast milk in a bottle while she is away. DO not put too much pressure on yourself with this issue. Especially since you use the nap time to work and your little one needs the nap to grow and sleep. :) I can assure you he will not show up at preschool with a bottle in his snack bag.

Hi there! You've gotten advice all over the spectrum so I'll chime in with my two cents. I don't think you have to be worried about any battles, at least not based on my experience. My daughter is 14 months old and still has a bottle before her nap (sometimes 1 nap, sometimes 2 these days) and one before bed. Our pediatrician said it was totally fine to give the bottles - just don't put them IN THE CRIB with the bottles to fall asleep - that's what leads to tooth problems. Giving a bottle before putting them in crib is fine, according to my pediatrician. When she turned 1 year, we started mixing whole milk with the breastmilk and she didn't seem to have any problem. We've loved the Nuby cups - she has two different colors - one for milk with meals and one for water which is available to her at all times. Seems to work for us. I still pump and she gets about 5 oz breastmilk a day but she won't nurse, most recently she stopped even in teh morning. Also, I never gave her breastmilk in te sippy cup - i figured she could associate the sippy with cows milk then.

Hope that helps, sounds like you are doing everything just right!

It's so funny. I thought it would be a battle, too, and my daughter did just fine without the bottle! What we did was change to cow's milk in the bottle for a little bit and then start giving her a sippy cup at mealtimes with milk, too. It was fun for her to have a "big girl cup." My advice is not to give juice at any time in the cup so she gets plenty of milk to drink. (My daughter never even asks for juice since she never gets it in her cup.) Your daughter will not be hungry at nap times as long as she is eating and drinking well. I don't think mine noticed the change since I try and tire her out before naps, so she was just happy to sleep. We kept the same routine: diaper change, book and then nap. Also, I was worried about having milk sit on her teeth during naps, so foregoing milk before sleeping is a good thing! You may be surprised how easy it is!

Bottles or sippy cups with milk or formula to go to bed with is a bad idea. Its not good for his teeth. They say that they should have milk with every meal and offer water to drink during the day and with snacks. If you want to keep giving him a bottle I would give him just water in it at night and he will probably decide he doesn't want it. It takes a little while but once you have a normal bedtime routine set up w/o a bottle he will fall asleep easily.


With our first, we just decided one night not to give it to her and she fussed a little bit, but never full out screamed, but she did know she was missing something and this was shortly after she was one. With the next, we were a lot more lax about the whole bottle thing which we were kicking ourselves about because around 15 months is when we decided no more "buba's" for our youngest. It was a little bit tougher in the sense that she definitely knew what it was that she was missing and would call out for it when we put her down to bed... I suppose my point is, get rid of it now while he is still young, he'll know "something" is missing, but won't know exactly what that is just yet...soon enough he will though. He'll recover, promise :) and also it might be a whole lot easier than you think. I know from personal experience, we put things off avoiding what we think is going to be some horrible ordeal, but in reality, they do fine, sometimes better than we do about the whole thing. :) Best of luck, it will all work out just fine.

Hi L.,

First off, there is no reason for your son to give up his bottle yet. My kids didn't give them up until they were at least 18 months; so don't worry!!! Secondly, the best way to get him off the formula is to substitute 1oz of milk each time you give a bottle. IE - if you give an 8oz bottle, do 7 of formula and 1 of milk (whole milk). The next day, do 6 formula and 2 milk and so forth. You have to ease your child into real milk to make sure there is no reaction. It should take about a week or so to get him onto milk entirely. Then you should use whole milk for a year, and when he is 2 you can switch to 2% and when he is 3 you can go to 1%.

Hope this helps you. Good luck!

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i started to cut the bottles out slowly, first i got rid of the ones during the day and my daughter was only having one in the morning and night, then i got rid of the morning one after a few weeks she didn't even want the night time bottle, so don't push it the bottle isn't hurting him!!!

Our little guy didn't have a bottle very often, either, usually just before bed. When we wanted to switch him over, from formula to milk and bottle to sippy, we did the substance transition first. We started with 3/4 formula, 1/4 milk in the bottle, then went to half and half, then 1/4 formula to 3/4 milk, then all milk. It only took about 2 weeks, and he didn't complain once! We'd started him on the Nuby sippy (big rubber spout most similar to bottle nipple) with meals, and then added in other plastic kinds 9 months. He'd drink water, formula/milk and watered-down juice out of these. When he was about a year one night we just gave him a plastic sippy (the take-n-toss kind!) with milk instead of the bottle and he drank it - we were so relieved! Next night was fine, too, then the third night he said 'no no no' and we said 'ok, off to bed then', he was mad for about 10 minutes that night, 5 the next, and that was the last we ever heard of it! I can't address the nap situation, ours was almost 2 before we got the nap thing down really well, and it didn't involve a routine. Best wishes!

First thing is to get her to fall asleep without the bottle. Sounds like your fear is her not going to sleep without that comfort item. Give her something else in place like a stuffed animal or toy. The bottle can still be given for a week or so, but and hour BEFORE nap and bed happen. Then the comfort item becomes "here you go honey take blankie, give him hugs and he will keep you safe during sleep time!"
Then after a week or two of that, replace the bottle with a sippy (I HOPE she drinks from a sippy at this age!, If not you would need her to get familair with that first) If you put the same thing in the sippy for a week (whether it is still formula or milk,,, no kid was harmed from having formula a week or two AFTER the official first birthday) then she will have no choice but to drink!

About the tears..... no one... NO ONE... enjoys hearing there child cry, and I used to be of that "oh no he will cry so I can't do that" philopsohy myself.
As long as you are not physically harming them or being flat out mean, it really is OK if she cries for a bit.... flat out screaming is an indicator to stop and try again tomorrow, but KEEP TRYING!!!! You certainly don't want her to be 3,4,5.... ans still insist on a bottle at night!!!!!!! The reason it is reccomended to do this at 1 is because they are young enough to get over it relativly quick. Imagine a 3 year old that can SAY to someone "I love my bottle at night"!

Naps are so great I understand why you don't want to mess with them!

From what I have heard children who go to sleep w/ a milk or juice bottle can get very bad tooth decay, so it is doubly important for you to help your little one give up this habit. Try watering down the formula gradually a little at a time w/ the goal in mind to have all water in the bottle then switch to a sippy cup as you indicated.

Good luck!

I'd probably start with formula in a sippy cup. Both my boys transitioned with no problem to the sippy by about 10 months. Also, I don't know if you still warm the formula at all, but that warm to cold transition may make it difficult for your child. Start making changes slowly...cold formula, sippy, milk. Pretty soon, I bet your child will like to be drinking the same stuf the 'big' kids get. Just remember to give him whole milk for the first year...their brains need the fat!

You don't have to give up the bottle at one. You can do it slowly and you can also switch to second step formula for toddlers or you can slowly just switch to milk. Whatever works best for you and your baby. My son is 16 months and still takes a bottle with watered down formula and milk. We will switch to just milk over the next months or so. He likes both, but formula is easier to travel with and we travel a lot.


My daughter LOVED her bottle and I didn't think she would ever give it up. At 1 year she didn't even hold her own bottle (not b/c of lack of ability but b/c she loved the cuddle time). I was really stressed that it would be a battle to give up the bottle, but she gave it up really easily. We cut down the bottles during the day around a year/13 months and she just had the bottle at bedtime. Then one day we were out at bedtime and I didn't have a bottle with me. She fell asleep fine without it and never had one again. At least for me it worked to let my daughter decide when to give up the bottle entirely.

As far as mixing formula with milk, my daughter hated milk initially but did well when we mixed it with formula. Some kids take to milk immediately though. It is different for every kid. There was a time period where I was nervous that she wasn't getting enough milk, but my pediatrician said that kids don't need as much milk after a year as they did when they were only drinking bottles.

I hope that helps! Try not to stress too much!

L., my pedi recommended the same, but my now 2 year old still has 3 bottles a day!! I am honest in saying that I have chosen not to battle with him. He is my last child and how I look at is -- well, he wont go to school with it right! Why rush him. He drinks fine from a sippy cup but he (and I)enjoy snuggling first thing in the morning, before nap time and bed time of course. As far as weaning him from formula, start mixing in about 2 ounces of whole milk into his normal bottle/cup of formula -- do this for a week, then increase the amount the next and so on... you will be amazed at how easily he will transition to whole milk. Also, I wanted to emphasise the WHOLE milk thing, babies need the fat in the mild for their brain development, I have heard others say they give 1-2 percent, but I firmly believe in giving whole milk. good luck!!! L. C.

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